American gymnastics legend Mary Lou Retton says she is “overwhelmed with all the love and support” she has received and is slowly recovering with family after being hospitalized with a rare form of pneumonia earlier this month.
Retton, 55, posted a statement Monday on Instagram in her first public comment since being in intensive care in a Texas hospital. Her daughter, McKenna Kelley, said then that the first American woman to win the Olympic all-around title in 1984 was “fighting for her life” and unable to breathe on her own.
Retton said she was “beyond blessed for the opportunity to make this statement” and is staying positive through what she knows is a long and slow recovery process. She requested privacy and added that she will share more information about her health when the time is right and hopefully help others facing the same battle.
Retton ended the post saying, “I love you all. – MLR.”
Kelley started a fundraising campaign on Retton’s behalf to cover medical expenses because she does not have health insurance. The campaign has generated more than 8,300 donations totaling nearly $460,000.
Retton was 16 when she became an icon of the U.S. Olympic movement during her gold medal-winning performance at the 1984 Summer Games in Los Angeles. Retton, who grew up in Fairmont, West Virginia, also won two silver and two bronze medals at those Olympics to help bring gymnastics — a sport long dominated by eastern European powers like Romania and the Soviet Union — into the mainstream in the U.S.
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